CSS url()

Written by Michael Gearon on the

The use cases of url() in CSS are huge, here are most of the properties the url() function can be included as a value: background, background-image, list-style, list-style-image, content, cursor, border, border-image, border-image-source, mask, mask-image, src as part of a @font-face block, and @counter-style/symbol


In it’s simplest form the function can be used to load a resource like a background image:

div {
  background-image: url(test.png);

In this use case I used a relative URL, which searches the file in the folder where the CSS file is defined. So if the asset (test.png) is in the same folder as the CSS file then it would fine the image.

I could go one level back, this could be useful if your images are stored outside of your CSS folder:

section {
  background-image: url(../test.png);

or go into a folder if the assets are in a subfolder:

section {
  background-image: url(subfolder/test.png);

Root level

You could load a file starting from the root of the domain where the CSS is hosted:

section {
  background-image: url(/test.png);


Alternatively you could use an absolute URL to load an external resource:

section {
  background-image: url(https://mysite.com/test.png);

Written by Michael Gearon

Michael Gearon is a UX Designer at BrandContent. Specialising in voice assistants and CRO, I have a wealth of experience in UX, UI and website design. Based in Cardiff, South Wales Mike can help local businesses with their online presence.

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